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Is Berle and Means Really a Myth?

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  • Brian Cheffins and Steven Bank

    () (Cambridge University)

Abstract

Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means famously declared in 1932 that a separation of ownership and control was a hallmark of large U.S. corporations, and their characterization of matters quickly became received wisdom. A series of recent papers has called the Berle-Means orthodoxy into question. This survey of the relevant historical literature acknowledges that the pattern of ownership and control in U.S. public companies is not monolithic. Nevertheless, a separation between ownership and control remains an appropriate reference point for analysis of U.S. corporate governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Cheffins and Steven Bank, 2009. "Is Berle and Means Really a Myth?," Business History Review, Harvard Business School, vol. 83(3), pages 443-474, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:journl:2009q3cheffins.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/bhr/2009Q3cheffins.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Graeme G. Acheson & Gareth Campbell & John D. Turner & Nadia Vanteeva, 2015. "Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 911-936, August.
    2. Ruiz-Porras, Antonio & Lopez-Mateo, Celina, 2010. "The separation of ownership and control and investment decisions in Mexican manufacturing firms," MPRA Paper 25237, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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